MUMBO-JUMBO 141 medicine. They were the first to use gold in the treatment of con- sumption, and they were the first to use a certain oiL. whose name I forget, in the treatment of leprosy. These discoveries were made many centuries ago, and if they had been followed up in the spirit of Western research, the world might have been saved much misery. But Ayurveda, as we have seen, was a secret Brahmin, society. Its exponents were gripped fast by the superstition that if a secret was given to the world it would 'lose its virtue* (or, more likely, cease to be a source of profit) and therefore the seals were put on the bottles, the herbs were locked away, the sacred bookK were jealously guarded, and Time, in Indian medicine, stood still. We have indicated, briefly but accurately, the pros and cons of Ayurveda. But we have forgotten one branch of this 'science* which has shown remarkable progress. It is not a very honourable branch but it plays so large a part in Ayurveda that it must be mentioned. IV In the manufacture of aphrodisiacs, Ayurveda reigns supreme, On my desk lies the catalogue of one of the many firms of Ayurvedic chemists. These firms are legion; they have a huge mail-order business; and their long lists of testimonials offer impressive proof that the mystic approach to medicine is something which the Indian likes, demands, and is ready to pay for. However, there is nothing mystic—and probably nothing exaggerated either—about their claims to stimulate the sexual appetite. Concerning a certain ointment we are told that it will 'infuse young men with horse-like vigour/ The Westerner might feel alarmed by the prospect of developing such equine propensities ; n,ot so the Hindu. Of a certain syrup it is written, cit causes the fountain of desire to spurt, just like the brilliant sun, in the serene sky.* And as „ though this were not enough, for a dollar... 6it has the effect of cooling the brain as well5 (it is somewhat difficult to reconcile those appareixtly conflicting properties).